Time to explore more of our own backyard…

Pixabay Khobar

Al Khobar is located in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, in the heart of Dhahran. It is a vibrant city with multiple lifestyle hubs and shopping centres. Its long, beautiful Corniche is lined with numerous international and local cafes and restaurants overlooking the Arabian Gulf.

The cities of Al Khobar, Dammam and Dhahran are known as the ‘Triplet Cities’, for they are about 20 kilometres away from each other and essentially form one big city. Here’s a quick guide to planning your next visit to Khobar, from accommodations to the best things to see.

What to do

Take a stroll along the Corniche

 

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You can’t go to Khobar and not visit the Corniche. This seafront promenade is an extension of Half Moon Bay through Aziza beach, stretching to the city of Dammam. Green spaces are plentiful along the coast, and you will enjoy the spectacular sea views from here. It’s also the perfect place for families – there are cafes and restaurants, playgrounds and bike rental shops.

Stroll along the palm tree-lined walkway, and you’ll catch sight of the seafront Jawzaa Alqahtany mosque. The mosque’s ornate, white structure looks stunning against the crystal-clear sunlit gulf during the day, and at night, the magnificent arches are illuminated by floodlights. You can also see the iconic Khobar Water Tower, overlooking the promenade from its manmade peninsula.

Khobar Corniche, Prince Turkey Street, Corniche, Al Khobar 34414, 76PC+GF.

Beach day at Half Moon Bay

About 45 minutes drive outside Khobar is Half Moon Bay, where you can find several beaches. Sunbathe on the sandy shore, take a dip in the gulf waters, or ride a beach buggy across the dunes.

Half Moon Beach, Half Moon Bay, Dhahran 34736, 7HRG53M6+87.

Have a splashing good time

 

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Looking for some fun water sports activities at Half Moon Bay? Check out Parasailing Corporation. They offer jet-skiing, donut boat ride, flyboarding, and of course, parasailing. After all those adrenaline rush, we recommend heading over to Al Seef Café next door and sit by the waterfront – a great place to unwind.

Parasailing Corporation, next to Al Seef Café, Dhahran, 623J+68, daily 6.30am to noon, 2pm to 6pm. Tel: 050 222 2824. @parasailing1

Visit a private museum amid a residential area

Alfelwah and Aljowharah Museum

Saudi millionaire Abdulwahab al-Ghunaim is an avid collector of cultural and traditional artefacts. He took his hobby to a new level when he opened the Alfelwah and Aljowharah Museum next to his house. There are more than 500,000 unique collectables, including vintage cars, antique gramophones, a 500-year-old copy of the Quran, and some of the private possessions of Saudi Arabia’s first monarch, King Abdulaziz. An eclectic museum frozen in time and worthy of a visit.

Alfelwah and Aljowharah Museum, Al Nuzha, Dammam 32252, 94X6+WG, Every Mon 6pm to 10pm. SAR50 per person. Tel: 055 188 6880.

Step into a more authentic shopping experience at Desert Designs

Desert Designs Khobar

Every savvy shopper should have Desert Designs on your Khobar itinerary. This two-storey shop is home to many rare and precious items that have been transformed into functional home accessories by local artisans. Take your pick from traditional furniture to textiles, antiques and more. Don’t forget to check out the art gallery, café and Juman Pearl’s showroom upstairs, too.

Desert Designs, 3616 Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques Rd, Al Aqrabiyah, Al Khobar 34446, 75MW+VG, Sat to Thurs 9am to 9pm, Fri 4pm to 9pm. Tel: 013 889 4747 / 054 167 0927. @desertdesignssa

Fuel your creativity and passion at Ithra

Ithra library

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra (Arabic word for ‘enrichment’), is filled with carefully curated cultural offerings. This state-of-the-art building boasts an impressive library, theatre, cinema, museums, galleries, an energy exhibit, archives, a Great Hall, an Idea Lab and Knowledge Tower that includes 18 floors of educational space for workshops. Ithra’s striking composition and gardens are reason enough to spend the day, but it may take you a whole day to appreciate all of its wonders. Entrance to Ithra is free, but selected events, the museum and the cinema require tickets.

King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture – Ithra, 8386 Ring Rd, Gharb Al Dhahran, Dhahran 34461, 84PC+59, Mon to Sat 9pm to 2am (Ramadan hours). Tel: 013 816 9799. @ithra

Discover the mystery of Science at Scitech

 

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Head to the Scitech Technology Centre – home to an astronomical observatory, and seven main halls with exhibits about science and technology. You’ll have a chance to take part in experiments as you explore this interactive museum. The family’s biggest hit is the IMAX theatre, where informative documentaries on nature, space, and animals are screened. Highly recommended for young children and families.

Scitech Technology Centre, Corniche, Al Khobar 34412 31952, 869H+M5, Sun to Thurs 8am to 3pm, 4pm to 10pm, Fri & Sat 4pm to 10pm. Closed during Ramadan. Prices start from SAR20. Tel: 013 896 7777. @scitech_edu

A glimpse into a simpler life

Dammam’s turret-topped Heritage Village is part museum, part restaurant. The building houses a museum, where troves of jewellery, manuscripts and other artefacts are on display, and a market selling an assortment of handicrafts. But the biggest draw here is the restaurant located on the ground floor. Curl up on traditional floor cushions and sample delicious local fare, including delectable mezze spreads and platters of grilled meats and rice – the perfect way to immerse yourself in Saudi culture.

Heritage Village, Corniche Walk Way, Ash Shati Al Gharbi, Dammam 32412, King Abdullah Park Seafront, F4RC+Q6, Sat to Wed noon to midnight, Thurs & Fri noon to 1am. The entrance to the museum is SAR20 per person. Tel: 055 843 2232. @heritagevlg

Strawberry picking at a local hydroponic farm

What’s better than eating red, juicy strawberries? Picking them yourself. At Dalia Farm, they grow their strawberries hydroponically. Hand-select what you bring home while making memories and enjoying a one-of-a-kind experience. Dalia Farm also offers fresh vegetables, tomatoes and much more.

Dalia Farm, Al Anwar, Anak 32651, G2G7+9C, Every Sat 9am to 12.30pm, 2.30pm to 5.30pm. SAR10 per person. Tel: 054 351 1240. @dalia.farm

Where to eat

Parker’s Beach House

 

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For a great breakfast spot in Khobar, make a reservation at Parker’s Beach House, sit on the outdoor terrace and enjoy the sea view as you tuck into an avocado toast. We also recommend Parker’s açaí, generously topped with granola, raw cacao, banana and strawberries.

Parker’s Beach House, Ajdan Terrace, Al Shamalia, Al Khobar 34414, 76MC+7W, daily 8am to 1am. Tel: 920 024 788. @parkers

Oriya

 

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Another place that you should go to for the view and vibe is Oriya. This light-filled space is packed with plants and accented with clean, light wood furniture. The food here is excellent, too – try the refreshing tropical quinoa salad, shrimp tacos, risotto chicken, and fish and chips. Be sure to beg a table next to the large windows, and you’re guaranteed a good time – oh, and a gorgeous view.

Oriya, Corniche Rd, Al Sahil, Al Khobar 34612, 764C+8C, daily 6pm to 2am (Ramadan hours). Kids under 12 are not allowed. @oriya

Al Marsa Seafood Restaurant

Looking to enjoy a seafood restaurant that’s fresh, affordable and family-friendly? Then give Al Marsa a visit. This no-frills joint looks like a fish out of water in the maze of rundown back-alleys, but we’d like to think that’s part of the appeal. However, what the place lacks in atmosphere, it makes up with good food. The second you walk into Al Marsa, you’ll be greeted by a counter filled with fresh fish on ice. Take your pick, pay at the cashier, grab a cold drink, sit back and dig into your favourite seafood dishes. Most of its seafood is grilled or fried and comes out piping hot on a foam plate.

Al Marsa Seafood Restaurant, Prince Saad St, Al Shamalia, Al Khobar 34427, 76Q8+7P, daily 11.30am to 11pm. Tel: 013 867 0976. @official_almarsa_seafood

Madeena Restaurant

Madeena Restaurant Khobar

For a unique dining experience, Maadenaa Restaurant cannot be rivalled. The restaurant serves traditional Saudi Arabian cuisine in its original style. Settle down on the comfy cushions, feast on the mouth-watering kabsa, jareesh and fish tajine, and take in the eclectic museum-like décor.

Madeena Restaurant, Olaya, Al Khobar, 75QQ+59, Mon to Wed 5am to midnight, Thurs & Fri 5am to 1am, Sat & Sun 5am to 11.15pm. Tel: 013 802 2991.

Vanille

 

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Tuck into an array of Mediterranean food fused with local flair at this modern restaurant. The ingredients are fresh and seasonal, and the seafood and grilled meats are magnificent. Be sure to end your feast with Vanille’s trio of dessert or any of their pastries on display.

Vanille, Al Bandariyah, Khobar Business Gate, Al Khobar 34423, 8678+RG, daily 4pm to 2.30am (Ramadan hours). Tel: 013 897 9000. @vanilleksa

Where to stay

Dana Beach Resort, Half Moon Bay

 

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Located about 30km from Al Khobar, this waterfront resort comprises spacious family villas surrounded by lush, landscaped gardens. The resort has an outdoor pool and a water park, and it also offers an array of water sports activities for everyone. Plus, the resort faces a secluded beach so that you can enjoy your getaway away from the crowd.

Dana Beach Resort, Half Moon Beach, Dana Bay, Al Khobar, Dhahran, 32H6+6M. Tel: 013 829 3000. @danabeachresort

Holiday Inn Resort Half Moon Bay

This renowned chain of hotels and resorts needs no introduction. The resort offers modern rooms with stunning views of Half Moon Bay. The rooms all come decked with the usual amenities you would expect. Spend long days sunbathing on the fine sandy private beach and cool down with a dip in one of their three family-friendly outdoor pools.

Holiday Inn Resort Half Moon Bay, Azizzia Area, Half Moon Bay, Al Khobar 39246, 53F8+QC. Tel: 013 896 3333. @hi__resort

Sofitel Al Khobar The Corniche

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Elegant and not intimidating – perhaps because the staff is warm and friendly. The decor is classic, with plenty of warm hues and dark wood, and the rooms comfy, though nothing pushes the envelope design-wise. It’s located close to attractions like Scitech and some of the best restaurants. Opt for the luxury room with a private balcony, which will surely mesmerise you with breathtaking panoramic sea views.

Sofitel Al Khobar The Corniche, Corniche Rd, South, Al Khobar 31952, 76G9+MW. Tel: 013 881 7000. @sofitelkhobar

Getting there

The distance between Riyadh and Khobar is about 420km. As it is a straight road from Riyadh, the drive takes about four hours. Just don’t expect the view along the route to be scenic. It’s best to fly to Dammam from Jeddah, but there’s also a direct flight from Riyadh.

We did our road trip pre-Ramadan, so please call ahead to confirm opening hours for the attractions and restaurants listed above, unless otherwise stated.

Images: Pixabay / Instagram